5 Questions for Jake McGraw from Refinery29 [INTERVIEW]

Host of November’s BookMachine NYC, Bree Weber, talks to speaker on the night Jake McGraw, Director of Operations at Refinery29.

Grab your tickets for BookMachine NYC here.

1. Can you give us a bit of background – who are you and how you came to join the R29 family?

After receiving my computer science degree in 2006, I was attracted to the world of internet-based startups to have an outsized impact in a small company. I have worked as a full-stack software engineer for a variety (from 2 to 200 employees) of New York based companies across many different business verticals. In 2013, I transitioned to management; I now direct multiple teams, focusing on technology strategy and defensibility.

2. What do you think ‘mobile’ means?

Mobile refers to the dominant computing platform of the foreseeable future. A smartphone is not just an extension of the desktop computer, it is an entirely different thing: it is always on, always connected and always available for use. These unique features have lead to an incredible rate of adoption, much faster than any previous piece of consumer technology.

3. Why is it so important to focus on mobile opportunities?

We are at a pivotal moment in mobile adoption. I believe a majority of users are now mobile only; they will never interact with you or your brand except through a mobile device. Delivering a subpar mobile experience doesn’t necessarily mean users will switch to using a computer to access your content, instead, they’ll switch to a competitor that understands mobile. The mobile opportunity is relevancy, much in the same way having a functional desktop website was a decade ago.

4. What can we look forward to from R29?

We launched our first book, Refinery29 Style Stalking on October 21st. Our holiday bazaar, Tinseltown, will be launching in November. Finally, we have some amazing new video series in the works, hopefully we’ll be ready to announce them before the new year.

5. Can you give us a sneak peek of what we’ll hear from you on November 6?

I plan on providing a behind the scenes look on the how and why of Refinery29’s approach to mobile, and product engineering in general. We’ve traditionally been labeled a media company, but we have so much happening on the technology front and I’d like to give attendees an insight into what we’ve learned and how we’re staying ahead of the curve.


BookMachine NYC, sponsored by Pubslush is on November 6. Tickets are available  here.